With traffic volume and congestion increasing during the holiday shopping periods, the chances of rear-end collisions occurring also increase, according to the Lieutenant Ron Donnelly of the Reno Police Department's Traffic Division.
"Rear-end collisions are one of the top three types of traffic accidents reported in the City of Reno, and can result in fairly expensive fines, as well as the chance of serious injury or death" says Donnelly.
"Rear-end collisions are avoidable," says Donnelly. "Keeping a safe distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you, obeying speed limits and simply paying attention to your driving are the best ways to avoid being involved in a rear-end collision."
Drivers following too closely because they are either in a hurry or misjudge their ability to react or stop in time, is one cause of rear end collisions, Donnelly says.
"Driving too fast and not paying attention are often the cause of rear-end collisions."
Donnelly points out that speeding extends the distance necessary to stop a vehicle (at 20 mph, the total stopping distance is 69 feet; at 30 mph, the distance needed is 123 feet; at 40 mph, the distance needed is 189 feet which may not be enough distance and time to avoid hitting an object or person on the road).
"The best way for drivers to assist those motorists who are following them is to brake early and gently when preparing to stop or turn to give drivers behind them plenty of warning they are slowing down."
Donnelly says in many incidents, drivers failed to reduce their speed because they weren't paying attention to the road, or were distracted by passengers, cell phones, the radio, or by eating or drinking beverages.
"Each situation is one that can be prevented," according to Donnelly, "to avoid a rear-end collision that could result in death or injury."
He points out that the fine for citations for following too closely is $170.00, while the fine for drivers who fail to decrease speed is $115.00.
Besides potential fines, there are also potential insurance rate impacts for drivers found at fault in rear-end collisions not to mention the expense and inconvenience of vehicle damage.
Donnelly says that any motorist who is being tailgated should move to another lane, if possible, or if necessary, should signal, slow down and pull off the road to allow other vehicles to go by.
And, he says, "Don't press your brakes to warn tailgating drivers. This could make a difficult situation even more dangerous by inciting road rage."
Donnelly says safe driving also means making sure everyone on the vehicle uses seat belts, and that children are appropriately secured in recommended child restraints.